Get Ready for Boots on the Ground in Iraq…


Well, that didn't take long.

Remember when President Barack Obama talked about how re-entering Iraq wouldn't require "boots on the ground" or troops (other than "military advisers")? Now there's this:

Gen. Martin Dempsey, the military's top officer, told a Senate panel Tuesday he will recommend having U.S. advisers fight with Iraqi troops against the militant Islamic State group if the situation requires it.

"To be clear, if we reach the point where I believe our advisers should accompany Iraqi troops on attacks against specific ISIL targets, I will recommend that to the president," said Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff….

Dempsey's statement did not represent a change from Obama's position, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said.

"As was clear from General Dempsey's remarks he was referring to a hypothetical scenario in which there might be a future situation in which he might make a tactical recommendation to the president as it relates to ground the use of ground troops," Earnest said…. "The president has been clear what that policy is." He said that the president's policy of putting no boots on the ground has not changed."

Read the whole thing, including a bunch of blather from Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. And this, too, from Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.): "It will take an army to beat an army."

This is shaping up like a bad episode of M*A*S*H, where the brass and pols are so full of malarkey, the rest of us are just left wondering when the really bad news is going to get delivered.

From The New York Times comes this:

"[President Obama's] stated policy is that we will not have U.S. forces in ground combat," General Dempsey said, adding, "He has told me as well to come back to him on a case-by-case basis."

That's about as open a statement of intentions as you can expect now, isn't it?

Related: Sen. John McCain wants boots on the ground sooner rather than later.


NEXT: Alarmed at Increase in Smoking, New York Regulators Resist a Much Safer Alternative

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. I swear I am going to have an aneurysm. Can we have a 3rd Republic France style plebiscite as a potential vote of no confidence in the government please?

    1. You know who else had no confidence in the government of Third Republic France?

      1. Fine, fifth Republic then. Or Napoleon. They were all obsessed with plebiscites for some reason…

        1. Charles De Gaulle? Wait…

  2. “We must meet this threat with our valor, our blood, indeed with our very lives to ensure that human civilization, not insect, dominates this galaxy now and always!”

    1. The only good bug is a dead bug.

      1. +100 amputations.

  3. Look, it’s only advisers. Geez, you’d think this would lead to escalation or something!

    1. You know who else only sent advisors to a war zone?

      1. La Fayette?

  4. I see that the Pentagon has recalled Gen. Idea for the planning of this operation.

  5. I have been trying to figure out all day how troops will fight Ebola.

    1. You’ve never played Doom?

    2. Really tiny bullets.

    3. I imagine they must be some chemical warfare branch. Full CDC suits.

  6. So any bets on how long it will take for “Americans are spreading Ebola on purpose” conspiracy theories to become the dominate narrative in the region?

    I’ll say 2 months.

      1. Did you hear that 9/11 was a plot by the Bushitlers to spread Ebola in Africa?

    1. Wait, that isn’t our strategy? I thought we were just reaching back really far in the playbook. I was going long on textiles for humanitarian relief in the Middle East.

    2. 4 weeks and one minute.

    3. 8 days 10 hours.

    4. I believe it is already happening.

    5. You’re saying they aren’t already ?

      No matter the end result of this non war, the United States will be blamed for everything, by everyone.

      This non war is going to be more of a clusterfuck than we have seen to date.

      Those that want global war seem to be getting their way/

  7. Would it be too much to ask for people to simply stop using the bullshit euphemism “Boots on the Ground”, which is so much code-language for ‘Conventional Miltary force’…?

    The amount of military capability that exists *well before you ever get to ‘conventional military force’* is enormous.

    It includes ‘drones, airstrikes, on-the-ground forward air controllers (who may be CIA, who may be contractors, who may be local forces, who may be JSOC, etc), green-beret advisors assisting local ground force commanders, small teams of SAD/JSOC strike teams under command of CIA, etc…)

    The fact is that most of the conflicts we potentially see ourselves engaged in are more likely to require these sorts of assets than ‘boots’, i.e. ‘regular infantry units with armored support’ etc.

    Don’t get caught in a stupid semantic game where you think just because someone is saying “no boots” that we’re not fully engaging ourselves in a military conflict with American lives at risk, and bringing significant force to bear.

    1. Potential decapitatees, in other words.

      1. a headless torso by any other name is just as gross.

        I personally don’t see the point in making a big issue about either “some” people on the ground (be they journalists who go there of their own accord, CIA-run people who do so in the attempt to be surreptitious, or Military people operating openly in activity against ISIS), or “more than Some” = a combination of all of the above.

        The point is that there is no such thing as a “Zero Footprint” military engagement. Obama’s pretense that we could/would somehow whip one up is mostly semantic bullshit.

        1. As I frequently point out – If Cuba did to the US what the US did to (insert name of Middle Eastern Country) we most certainly would call it an act of war, even though no Cuban infantry landed on American soil.

    2. In a sneaky attempt to outmaneuver his own promises, Obama will deploy troops wearing a high tech new sneaker.

      1. They’d better turn off those stupid little lights in the soles and heels.

    3. But I feel like I’m part of the team when I get to speak the lingo with them.

  8. Muddled and contradictory messages from the executive and legislative branches along with disagreement from the military. This will be a pointless cluster-fuck of monumental proportions.

  9. Really, does anyone take anything Obama says seriously? He has the credibility of a yeti lobbyist talking about the health benefits of Himalayan salt.

    1. but it makes your cholesterol go DOWN!

      1. I’m sorry, but you just can’t trust them on that topic. I mean, it’s the yeti who mine that salt, after all.

      2. I’ve never heard of any yeti with a arterial plaque problems.

          1. * (Just got up. Waiting for the coffee to kick in)

    2. But he went to HARVARD!

    3. If a yeti appeared, I’d be prone to believe just about anything he said.

      1. You can speak Yetish?

        1. I only know “chutzpah” and “kosher.”

  10. I see this developing like the American anti-communist adventures in SE Asia:

    There the commies had no problem defeating native unmotivated troops led by corrupt native officers supported by U.S. air support. In China the commies won. In Vietnam, the U.S. tried to avoid the Chinese loss by using their own ground forces when the locals proved unable, and the commies still won (strategically speaking; tactically the commies lost pretty much every set piece battle).

    When I last expressed this notion, John pointed out the important difference regarding terrain; that in this part of the world there is very little cover and air power is king unlike SE asia’s jungles.

    I suspect that the difference in terrain will not ensure American victory; ISIS fighters can always take off the black sweats and blend into the local population; and their logistical support is coming from U.S. allied nations in the gulf, and the state department lacks the influence to negotiate their interruption, and I expect militarily disrupting them will be a futile game of whackamole.

    Thus, I think at some point the U.S. will have to decide whether to abandon the campaign or to start inserting infantry into the area. Neither option will have overwhelming political support, and we may see many years of half measures that draw the conflict out over years.

    1. Air power certainly would have been more effective even in Vietnam if LBJ hadn’t been personally plotting each sortie. OK, I exaggerate, but just a little. But ari strikes are never going to just change the attitude of the committed population, so in the end they still won’t work.

      1. Well you didn’t exaggarate about the military soundness of Nixon picking out bombing targets in Laos and Vietnam.

        And it looks like he’s back, picking out targets against ISIS, Yemen, Samalia ? And where else, on a case by case basis he told his generals.

        What the PHUC ?

        1. Well, PHO on you!

          1. Please don’t pour hot soup on him.

  11. His Emptiness is in Tampa today. Perhaps I can ask him what “boots on the ground” means. Maybe he means no Solid Gold Dancers in Iraq?

    1. That would be ‘no booty on the ground’, ProL.

  12. This is shaping up like a bad episode of M*A*S*H

    To quote Col. Flagg, “Nobody leaves till I do, and I never do.”

  13. “He has told me as well to come back to him on a case-by-case basis.”

    BT-DT. 24 hours after a company commander needs a decision he gets a boatload of guidance and five new rules of engagement.

  14. “Well, that didn’t take long.”

    Hey nick, how about we criticize Obama for something he does and not for something his general said in response to a hypothetical?

    Obama is responsive for the statements of Jim inholfe and john McCain? I voted for Obama precisely because he stood in opposition to what these two men support.

    1. And yet when he serves up the same exact turd those guys would and tells you it’s a Baby Ruth, you believe him.

      1. Hmmm… it looks like a Tootsie Roll.

      2. That’s the point. Since Obama hasn’t put combat troops in Iraq I can’t condemn him for doing so. When he does this, I will reevaluate. I know you guys have ODS and all, but try real hard to distinguish between a couple of bombing runs against Al Queda’s fundamentalist step-child and a ground war and occupation of a country run by an Iraqi nationalist. It’s like telling the difference between pink flower and jet ski.

        1. american socialist|9.16.14 @ 10:42PM|#
          ‘When he does this, I will come up with a whole new list of excuses!’

          Fixed, commie-kid.

    2. american socialist|9.16.14 @ 5:42PM|#
      …”I voted for Obama precisely because he stood in opposition to what these two men support.”

      Hardly anyone brags about how stupid they are to that extent.

      1. I’m just saying that as both of us are reasonable libertarians we should judge a political figure on their actions and not on frenzied speculation by a wing nut.

        1. american socialist|9.16.14 @ 10:37PM|#
          ‘I’m just saying that as a Obo ass-licker, I think it’s GREAT!’


        2. If we judge Obama by his actions he stinks as bad as Bush. Because hellfire stop terrorism!

    3. Hey nick, how about we criticize Obama for something he does

      You mean like not getting the fuck out of Afghanistan for over three years after Bin Laden was killed (and causing the death of another 775 Americans in the process)?

  15. what did you expect from the ditherer in chief – the actual truth. First of all his liberal base would have thrown him overboard as a war mongerer.

    The truth of the matter is this – if you want to defeat and exterminate Isis you have to use ground forces. The Iraqi military can’t find its ass with both hands so using them is not an option. No other country is going to be willing to go in on the ground and fight Isis if the US is not willing to do so themselves. So we are back to the inevitable and unenviable situation of going after these terrorists with our own troops because that is truly the only way to get rid of these pesky assholes before they gain the capacity to attack the US and Europe directly which is where they are going with this whole movement.

    The isolationist argument is no longer valid in a modern international world where it is so easy for a violent group from one country to strike another thousands of miles away with devastating effect

    1. I have the perfect person in mind to run Iraq. Let me check his Wikipedia article… Aww fuck, colonialist lackeys supported by American mercenaries executed him back in 2006. Fuck you, Hillary Clinton… This is all your fault!

      1. What are you dithering about now, commie-kid? Some damn misdirection? Just plain lies?

      2. All that Iraq needs is the second coming of Hugo Chavez. Paradise on Earth.

        1. Better than what’s there now. You know, right, that Hugo Chavez is revered by poor people in Venezuela and stood up to the CIA when they tried, ever so slyly, to depose him in 2003. For that, at least, I give him 2.5 stars out of 4. It was pretty funny how this democratically elected demagogue could get under GWB’s skin.

          I’m into math and ratios . Do you think Hugo chavez’s popularity in Venezuela is 2:1 what Bush’s popularity was at the end of their presidency. Yes, I know, Chavez died.

          1. american socialist|9.16.14 @ 10:33PM|#
            “You know, right, that Hugo Chavez is revered by poor people in Venezuela and stood up to the CIA when they tried, ever so slyly, to depose him in 2003.”

            And commie assholes think that means it’s OK for the Venezuelans to wipe their asses with their fingers since commie assholes are stupid!
            “It was pretty funny how this democratically elected demagogue could get under GWB’s skin.”

            Yeah, commie-kid that really, uh, well doesn’t mean shit, except to commie assholes.
            “I’m into math and ratios”

            Give us the ratio of people who’d rather have toilet paper to those who’d rather wipe their asses with their fingers.

  16. Wish the US would mind its own businbess and deal with its own problems.

    1. Okay, I can seriously give up commenting at this point…

  17. It’s laughable that every news items seems like a reason for “Reason” folks to yap at Obama!

    Speaking of the gubment, I have been following the who’s who of all the protestors in DC speaking out AGAINST the war – and it seems that 90% are lefties and progs! Now, think…why would this be? Don’t the folks who post here have the balls or the passion? Don’t the Koch’s have the bucks to put folks on the ground (NOT highly paid perps in the halls of Cato), to hassle the Congress in their halls??

    It’s so damn obvious, once again, that these so-called Libertarians and non-interventionist TP types are total BS. Protest does work…at least better than a comment board.

    Get off your asses and live your words. Oh, that’s too hard, right?


    1. Protest does work…

      … shortly after uttering this, craiginmass’s head exploded from the sheer laughable falsity of it

    2. Progs hate war.

      Libertarians (and some of the center right) hate war, and actually push for policies that prevent them, and does not write blank checks for “their” guys that argue for military intervention.

      Progs are anti-establishment by nature. They’ll rail against corporation, white people, male patriarchy, America, the West, the wealthy, etc. Because Goalith is occasionally evil, they’ll get it right sometimes. But note my point above.

      I saw lunatics protesting against Israel’s “war” against Hamas and accusing them of war crime. 100% progs. You see, being “anti-war” just for the sake of being one doesn’t really help.

      1. Progs hate war.
        Progs are anti-establishment by nature.

        Citations needed

        1. I think that was sarc.

    3. craiginmass|9.16.14 @ 6:17PM|#
      “It’s laughable that every news items seems like a reason for “Reason” folks to yap at Obama!
      Speaking of the gubment, I have been following the who’s who of all the protestors in DC speaking out AGAINST the war – and it seems that 90% are lefties and progs”

      Oh, asshole says “Look over THERE!” and figures no one will notice.

      1. Ah, so no comment on why right wingers aren’t actually moral or ethical enough to put their faces in the places?

        You are standing on very weak ground. Instead, why not stand and be counted?

        1. But what does the NYT tell you to do? That’s all that you really need to know as a good prog. Krugman should be pretty psyched. Wars cure recessions/depressions according to him, don’t they?

        2. craiginmass|9.16.14 @ 8:57PM|#
          “Ah, so no comment on why right wingers aren’t actually moral or ethical enough to put their faces in the places?”
          WIH does that mean, asshole?

          “You are standing on very weak ground. Instead, why not stand and be counted?”
          Uh, yeah, uh, let’s see, craig requires people to, uh, stand and be counted! Or craig doesn’t like it!
          Thanks. When I want moral advice from a moral cripple, I’ll keep asshole in mind.

        3. Hey Craig what is exactly on the 3 by 5 card of acceptable reactionary outrage? Hopefully it won’t take all weekend because I have a tee time to make.

          1. dinkster|9.17.14 @ 12:56AM|#
            “Hey Craig what is exactly on the 3 by 5 card of acceptable reactionary outrage?”

            You may have missed the back story here. Craig is a brain-dead lefty who has failed at (seemingly) running a business that was left to him, blames Reagan for the loss, but he is proud of one issue that, to a lefty, discounts all the other stupidity:
            So now, as a lefty moral cripple, he hopes his sign-carrying youth makes up for his stupidity.

    4. I’m on the other side of the world. Should I protest at the American Institute in Taiwan? That’s two hours driving time each way.

      1. Well, criag isn’t gonna like you if you don’t send a selfie with a peace sign on your hat!

    5. Don’t the Koch’s have the bucks to put folks on the ground (NOT highly paid perps in the halls of Cato), to hassle the Congress in their halls??

      It seems like every news item is a “reason” for you to cry about the Kochs.

      Get off your asses and live your words. Oh, that’s too hard, right?

      So when are you enlisting to fight Obama’s wars in the Middle East?

    6. Hashtag making a difference hashtag selfie

  18. What you hear on the media and see on TV is like a screenplay of a grand opera play. One should look behind the curtain. A World War has already planned behind the backs of all people which will be forced to fight for their own Countries in their obligation as citizens. Notwithstanding Obama’s resistance, the Zionists are doing all they can to involve the US ground troops in this War. ISIS like Al Qada is their creation to justify the US intervention and a War on behalf of Israel. In the next World War, it will be like fighting against a phantom where the invisible enemy is personified not by another State but by a few individuals spread in various Countries. They dictate their will from the top of a virtual pyramid and they are those responsible for the major terror events. The conflict manipulated by the Zionists will be geographically split on two fronts: Russia, China and Arab States on one side Israel, USA and England on the other. Through a strategy made of Terror and Deception, the Zionists will continue to monitor and to separate all people in hope to face many weak and divided oppositions rather than one strong and united. Not to remain entrapped by the Zionist Plan, the next World War must be redefined from the beginning and fought only pro or against Equality without distinctions for Religion, race or Country.

    The Zionist strategy is Divide and Conquer.
    A new Humankind will be indivisible like water and will submerge that idea.

    1. Either Merkin or some other smelly racist.

    2. Yes, you are doubtlessly, 1,000 % correct, the Zionists are the root of all evil? However, PLEASE consider this: Government-Almighty-Given dreams / visions have revealed to me, the following: Just as the whole world is a bunch of mere PUPPETS to the Zionists, so, too, the Zionists are mere PUPPETS to those who are even MORE evil!!! And those even MORE evil BAHSTAHDS?!?! WHO are they, yew sez??!?!!

      They, ah’s a-tellin’ ya, THEM that them thar BAHSTAHDS, THEM is the ANTI-TIME-CUBISTS!!!

      Let’s… Do… The TIME CUBE again!!!
      It’s just a step to the right…
      And a jump to the left,
      With your knees in tight,
      (Come ON, do it RIGHT!)
      (Well secluded, I see ALL!!!)
      Time Cubists of the Weird, Wired World, Unite!!!!

  19. Rand Paul will reserve the right to use boots on ground under certain circumstances, which bolsters his position as a bloody thirsty warmgoner who’s siding with neocons.

    “O my gosh, it’s like he’s more Republican than libertarian. Feh, now this caviar doesn’t even taste that good.”

  20. As I stated on another thread, the neocons probably don’t really expect to get boots on the ground, although they will try for that too. What they really want is air strikes in Syria, because once they start, they can leverage their control over the intel services to evolve the target list to Assad regime targets. They are maniacally determined to oust Assad by hook or by crook.

  21. Craiginmass makes Tony look like an Oxford scholar.

    1. Before starting work in the morning, I have just enough time to visit the headlines on reason. If I’m interested in a story, I’ll expand the comments and copy/paste the entire thing into Notepad.

      Throughout the day, while a complex query is running or I’m only a peripheral participant in a phone meeting, I’ll read the article and comments.

      Today I read the Minimum Wage article and comments.

      It baffles me why normally intelligent Libertarians engage “craiginmass” in debate.

      He reminds me of the old Indian story about the group of blind men that encounter an elephant. One touches the trunk and describes it as a snake. Another touches the legs and describes it as tree.

      That seems to be the way Craig views economics. He looks at one thing and draws a conclusion? backed up by some Progressive website where he probably learned what his conclusion should be in the first place.

      I’ve read many claims by Craig, some contradictory, but the ones made in this Minimum Wage discussion are quite funny.

      continued below…

      1. I would have more respect for him if he would open his own discount chain to compete with those awful capitalists? Walmart! He could join forces with American Socialist, Tony, Bo and JoshRendal. Call the store SocialistMart. Pay everyone $15 an hour. Or $20? $30? If you really want people to have a living wage, that is. But do NOT pay the top executives more than?. what’s fair, but not greedy? 100K? Put all the profits into lower prices for the poor.

        Your store will be a hit. Maybe other Liberals will follow your lead and you can all prove to us once and for all how smart you all are. Open up your own telephone company? cable TV? software company. Put all those nasty, profit seeking capitalists out of business.

        Also?. Craig’s use of the term “Backwards Bizzarro”. A Bizzarro world is already backwards. To prefix the word with “Backwards” puts it back to normal. Kind of like a double negative in grammar.

        1. Ah haz Sed That (same Thang) many-many times, to my prog-tard friends… So… The evil oil company bahstahds (name yer fav evil vermins)… Is abusin’ the HELL out of (yer fav victims) and makin’ a GAWD-awful evil PROFIT off of them??!

          1. Then most obliviously, there is a HUGE free-market opportunity for YOU to step on IN thar, FILL that market-niche void, and EMPLOY those abused under-paid autistic schizophrenistic femophrenistic non-anglo-saxo- phrenistic but oh-so-brilliantly -creatively-talented-over-achievers… Pay then a WEE tad more than the abusers… And you will profit SOOOO HANDSOMELY!!! … Sad to say, they never take me up on my challenge… Would they, and should they succeed, Yers Truly would be their first and most enthusiastic investor…

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.